L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Near-total strike by petrol dealers
Industry, residents flay oil price hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
City residents had a tough time as a majority of the petrol stations in the city remained closed today on account of a nationwide strike by petroleum dealers. While most of the petrol pumps remained closed on account of the strike, a few pumps were open, resulting in long queues.

“It was a total strike and all pumps remained closed. The few that opened would not be a part of the association,” said president of the Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers Association, Mr Sumesh Chadha. He said dealers would go on indefinite strike from July 18 onwards if the government failed to meet their demands.

Protesting against the government’s inaction on the long-standing issue pertaining to increase in dealers’ commission and grant of temperature variation allowance, over 26,000 petrol stations across the country, including 1,300 stations across the state, remained closed.

The call for strike was given by the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT).

According to dealers, increasing prices of crude oil were resulting in a decline in their commission as the commission was fixed.

Dealers have been demanding 5 per cent commission, which currently is fixed and is around 1.58 per cent.

According to dealers, their commission is far lower in comparison to the commission being given to petroleum dealers in other countries like Pakistan and Thailand.

The agreement regarding increase in the dealer’s margin was signed by the marketing directors of national oil companies and the Federation of Automobile India Petroleum Traders. However, nothing has been implemented as yet,” rued Mr Chadha.

Meanwhile, the increase in the prices of diesel and petroleum was resented by residents and industry here.

The Ludhiana Goods Transport Association would observe a strike against hike in petroleum and diesel prices on June 28.

Mr Jagdish Singh Jassowal, press secretary, Ludhiana Goods Transport Association, said prices of petrol and diesel had already become unaffordable and the government should control these. “Industry is suffering due to the constant increase in prices. The government must control prices if industry is to survive,” he said.

Mr Charanjit Singh Lohara, chairman of the association, said: On a call given by the All India Motor Transport Congress against the hike , transporters would observe a full day strike.”

The association also threatened to go on indefinite strike in August if the government continued with its “anti-industry” policies.



Closed petrol stations cause inconvenience
Our Correspondent

Samrala, June 20
All petrol stations in Samrala Sub Division, including Khamanon area, remained closed, causing great inconvenience to the vehicle owners. Many farmers were seen going back to their villages. They came for diesel to the petrol pumps as there is no electricity for their tubewells for the past two days.
The owners of the petrol pumps said that if the commission is not raised, they would go on an definite strike shortly.



Akali leader flays hike in petro prices
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
The General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, today condemned the hike in the prices of petroleum products. He said, the hike would hit the common man. He observed that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre had forgotten the interests of common man.

Reacting to the price hike here today, Mr Grewal pointed out, during the last one year of the UPA rule the prices of petrol had risen by Rs 10, and that of the diesel by Rs 7. He said, the common man, particularly the farmers would be the worst hit. He observed that the Manmohan Singh government was imposing its agenda ruthlessly without caring for the concerns and the interests of people. He apprehended that the hike in the petroleum prices would lead to the rise in the prices of other essential commodities as well.



Farmers rue power shortage during peak paddy season
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
Farmers are sore over the power shortage during the peak paddy transplantation season. They said the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had failed both in terms of quality as well as quantity in supplying power to the farmers. They said despite agreeing to the government suggestion that the paddy transplantation must be started after June 10 only, the PSEB had failed to maintain supply to the farmers.

According to Prof Manjit Singh Kadyan, working president, BKU, Punjab, the government had suggested to the farmers not to transplant paddy before June 10. He said about 95 per cent farmers agreed to the suggestion. The farmers had demanded 10-hour power supply during the transplantation season. But the government had agreed to only eight-hour supply.

Prof Kadyan said now the farmers were not even getting six hours during the day. Even when the power was supplied the voltage remains quite low. He said the PSEB had charged hundreds of crores of rupees from the farmers for replacing the transformers so that the supply could be improved. “But no transformer has been replaced and the voltage remains very low which does not serve any purpose,” he said.

He also sought to dispel the notion that power shortage was caused because of the peak paddy transplantation season. He said from the expert calculations it had come out that in case the PSEB supplies 10-hour power daily to the farmers, only 300 lakh units would be consumed of the total 1,200 lakh units available during the summer. He pointed out this came to only 25 per cent, which is too nominal when compared to the contribution of the agriculture towards the economy. Moreover, he added that there was not even six-hour supply which means the power consumed by the agriculture sector was far less than projected to be.

Asserting that the PSEB must ensure regular eight-hour daily supply with full voltage, he said only then the paddy could be transplanted on time. He said most of the farmers had agreed to the government suggestion of late paddy sowing.

“In case we do not get the promised power, it will shatter our faith in the government and nobody would agree to its suggestions in the future,” he added.



Engineering students boycott exam
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, June 20
As many as 21 students of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College here quit their advance electrical machines, M Tech power engineering II semester paper today as the question paper distributed to them was totally out of syllabus. Though the superintendent had another set of question papers but she refused to distribute it to students, saying as per the datesheet sent by PTU, question papers with code PEE 507 were to be distributed to them and not PEE 505 (code) papers.

Various students Ludhiana Tribune spoke to, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that they had to be distributed the paper with code PEE 505, whereas they were given PEE 507 papers, actually meant for B.Tech students. “We told them that the question paper was entirely out of syllabus but the superintendent did not listen to us. She made us sit for one and a half hours as per the rules. After that we all came out because we knew nothing”, said one of the students.

Another student said that mistake could be on anybody’s part but they (the students) were made scapegoats. “Even if the university took the re-exam, it was unnecessary harassment to all of us. Why should we pay for anybody’s fault”, he asked.

The Principal, Mr R.P. Singh, when contacted said that as per the teacher who taught the subject, the whole paper was out of course. But the superintendent on duty made the students sit for half of the time as per rules. “Students will give their representation accordingly and we will send this to Punjab Technical University. They will evaluate the situation after concerning with their expert committee”, said Mr Singh.

Mr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, PTU, said if such was the case, the students could represent their case through the concerned teacher or principal. The expert committee will look into it and evaluate the situation accordingly. “Grace marks will be given depending on the question paper but if the whole paper was out of syllabus, then there could be re-examination”, said Mr Grewal.



INA veteran’s wife struggling for pension
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ms Sarjeet Kaur, an INA veteran’s wife, displays photographs of her late husband and son
Ms Sarjeet Kaur, an INA veteran’s wife, displays photographs of her late husband and son. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, June 20
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice of motion to the Punjab Government and the Deputy Commissioner, here, for the grant of the freedom fighter pension to Ms Sarjeet Kaur, an octogenarian INA veteran’s wife here.

Besides, the court has also issued notices to the Deputy Secretary, Freedom Fighters Division (INA), Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Secretary, Department of Social Security, Women and Child Development, Punjab, in her case.

The 80-year-old woman, Ms Sarjeet Kaur, resident of Bhaini Aroran village, has been moving from pillar to post after Independence to get recognition for her and her husband’s contribution in the country’s freedom movement but to no avail.

In his report, the SDM, Raikot, had submitted that her husband, late Hazoora Singh Chahal, should be declared freedom fighter and Ms Sarjeet Kaur must be given due financial help. The SDM had written to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, that the case of the petitioner should be considered with sympathy as the same was supported by the government policy.

In another report, the SDM had said it had been proved beyond any doubt that Hazoora Singh was imprisoned for more than six months along with his companions in Singapore, when he was a member in the INA and that he should be declared as a freedom fighter.

“I am more than 80 years of age. I am having a very frail state of health. I have apprised the Deputy Commissioner of the same a number of times also but I have not been given any pension,” she said.

Ms Sarjeet Kaur has been fighting for the recognition of her husband’s contribution to the country’s Independence. Hazoora Singh Chahal, her husband was with Netaji Subash Chandar Bose at Singapore during 1944 to 1945 and his wife, Ms Sarjeet Kaur had not only sacrificed their youth but also a member of their family for the country’s freedom.

She claims that she had to abondon her newborn baby in Singapore as she could not bear the condition of the starving infant. Substantiating her claims, she shows the picture of the baby bearing stamp of a studio in Singapore.

According to the documents produced by Sarjeet Kaur, Hazoora Singh had joined the Indian National Army on February 23, 1944. He worked as a Havildar with 1/8 Guerrilla, First Battalion, A.Coy no. 34451. His area of operation was Ipoh Perak, Malaya and Captain Bhaskar C.Com of Maharashtra was his Commander under whom he had served.

The documents also said that he was imprisoned for seven months at various jails at Ipoh and Bidda Dari Camp in Singapore. He had to surrender in November 1945 to the British Army. He had also furnished this information to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India after the Deputy Secretary, GOI it had asked him through a letter (no. 27L/11997/74) addressed to him in 1974.

His correspondence with the various governments, including Punjab and India continued for more than 40 years but even then he did not get any pension or economic relief which was provided to the members of the INA. He did not get a pension even after another INA veteran, Lt Kirpal Singh, INA, 2/8, Guerrilla Regiment, had declared under oath that Hazoora Singh was imprisoned in Ipoh with him for several months.



3 revenue officials booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 20
The police on Saturday booked seven persons, including three revenue officials, on charges of fraudulently selling a piece of land at Somal Kheri village in Payal subdivision.

The case was registered against naib tehsildar Rala Singh, kanungo Avtar Singh, patwari Megh Singh, Dev Raj of Shah Pur Gillan village, Amarjit Singh Madnipur, Jaswant Singh and Gurmeet Singh of Somal Kheri village under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC following an inquiry report submitted by the SDM, Raikot.

Ajit Kumar of Somal Kheri village had lodged a complaint that his father has been living with his maternal uncle, Bachan Dass, since his childhood. Bachan Dass has adopted him as his son. When he reached the age of 19, Bachan Dass had made a will in favour of his father, Tarsem Lal, in 1966. In 1994, Dev Raj had sold five kanals to Amarjit Singh by preparing a fake will. He issued power of attorney to Amarjit Singh who sold that land to his relative Jaswant Singh, a resident of Somalkheri village. He alleged that Jaswant Singh again sold the land to Gurmeet Singh by giving power of attorney. He also alleged that a fake witness was taken. Following the complaint of Ajit Kumar, an inquiry was marked to the SDM.

All seven persons were found guilty in the report and a case was registered against them. 



Probe sought into road repair work
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 20
Member of prominent NGOs working in ward no. 40 — the Urban Estate Welfare Association, the Urban Vihar Citizen’s Council, and the National Forum for Human Rights — met today at the residence of Dr. Ajay Sahi, President, Ward No. 40, Congress Committee to discuss the undergoing repairs and construction of roads in Phase I and Phase II of Urban Estate and Urban Vihar area of Ward No 40. They were of the opinion that the Municipal Commisioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, was taking keen interest in the development process but the official machinery was bent
upon nullifying the efforts.

It was pointed out by Mr Jasbir Singh Jassal, General Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee that the laying of the PC was not upto the standards laid by the CPWD authorities. Some roads were being constructed without having the tenders sanctioned (the main road starting from Dugri Canal heading towards the dividing road of Phase one and two).

Residents of Dugri have demanded an independent vigilance inquiry in this connection.

Dr Ajay Shahi and H.L Kaura pointed out the grave irregularities in the construction of roads in Phase-I and Phase-II, Urban Vihar as only 12-feet-wide roads were being constructed out of 45-feet-wide roads, without any prior approval of the authorities.

NGOs have alleged that the time limit was already over and most of the works had not even started and some works were left incomplete. They demanded that this should be completed before the arrival of the monsoons.

Members said they would hold demonstrations at the residence of the Commisioner and the Mayor of the municipal corporation if their demands were not fulfilled.



Abolish PMT, says ex-minister
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
Senior Akali leader and former minister for medical education, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, today suggested that the Punjab government should abolish the pre-medical test (PMT) and the common engineering entrance test (CEET) given the controversies surrounding these tests.

Talking to the Tribune here today, the former Medical Education Minister suggested that instead the government must make admissions to the professional institutions, including the medical colleges and the engineering colleges on the basis of the merit obtained by the students in the board exams at the plus Two level.

Mr Grewal pointed out the Tamil Nadu Government had recently abrogated the entrance tests in the state. He pointed out, the board examinations had much credibility against the controversies surrounding the PMT and the CEET. He said there was no point in holding the PMT, putting the students to yet another ordeal.

The former minister said in case the admissions to the professional institutions were made on the basis of plus two merit, the students would be saved from the extra ordeal of studying again after their board exams and their parents need not pay high expenses charged by the private academies. He said the academies fleece students in the name of coaching.

Mr Grewal suggested a debate over the holding of the entrance examinations. He observed: “there appeared to be a progressive decline in the credibility of the PMT and CEET with the reports of paper leak and the irregularities in results and the best course would be the plus two merit”. 



Tikka flays BJP leader’s comments on Cong regime
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
The Senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, today condemned the allegations levelled by the BJP leader and former Union Minister, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, that the Congress Government in Punjab was supporting terrorism.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Tikka accused the BJP of communalising the situation and trying to exploit it for its own nefarious designs. Mr Tikka alleged that the BJP was trying to create fear psychosis among the minorities by levelling such allegations.

The youth Congress leader pointed out that it was due to the efforts of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that so many terrorists had been arrested. He said, the BJP leader should better have a look at the alliance partners of his own party, the Akalis, who have always supported religious extremism in the state.

Mr Tikka said, the BJP leaders must behave with responsibility and not vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in the state and they should cooperate with the government to fight militancy.



Protest against supply of contaminated water 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
In order to protest against the scarcity of water and the supply of contaminated drinking water and sewer problems in Ward Number 9, the Area Councillor staged a dharna in front of the Zone-B office of the local Municipal Corporation here today.

The Councillor Mr Harjinder Singh Gogi, was accompanied by residents of the area and some senior BJP leaders. Raising slogans against the MC authorities, he said residents of his area were getting brown-coloured liquid from taps. He said he had complained to the authorities about this several days ago but nothing had been done in this regard.

Accompanied by Mr Parvin Bansal, Mr Pran Nath Bhatia and Mr Subhash Verma, senior BJP leaders, Mr Gogi, while addressing mediapersons said the civic body seemed to be waiting for some disease to break out in the area.

He said he had been told by the officials that the disposal motor was out of order and it would be repaired soon but nothing had been done so far. He said even the general house of MC had not met for the past three months even though it was supposed to meet at least once every month.

Following the protest, the Zonal Commissioner, Mr Bansi Lal and Superintending Engineer, Mr S.C. Dua, assured the councillor that his grievances would be redressed within two days. Mr Bansal said if the civic body did not rectify the problem after two days then they would intensify their protest.

Residents of Urban Vihar, Phase-I and II, also claimed that they were facing water scarcity for the past 15 days.

Mr Ajay Shahi, president of Urban Vihar Citizens Council, said they had met the city Mayor, Nahar Singh Gill, also two days ago and he had assured them that the tubewell supplying water to their area would be repaired soon but no action had been taken so far.

The residents said if their problems were not solved soon then they would launch an agitation. They claimed that the officials of civic body were giving evasive replies on the issue.



Residents lose sleep over land acquisition notices
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
As many as 59 families of Passey Nagar and Moti Bagh Colony are having sleepless nights following land acquisition notices issued to them for construction of missing link road from Pakhowal Road to Urban Estate, Phase-III here.

Representatives of these families facing eviction today lodged their protests with the Additional Chief Administrator, Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority, (PUDA), where they were invited to state the nature of their respective claims to the compensation for such interests and their objections.

Residents of 59 houses falling in these two colonies were issued eviction notices by PUDA, the land acquisition authority for this project on June 13. Facing the axe of the authority were some elderly men, widows and members of poor strata of society who had constructed houses here after spending their life savings or after taking loans from the banks.

After a meeting with the ACA, Ms Alakh Nanda Dyal, incensed residents, while talking to The Tribune said that PUDA had issued notices to them on June 13 although the project was notified under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 on May 30, 2003. They claimed that the notices issued to them were in contravention of provisions of the Act.

Vindicating their claims, Mr Narinderpal Singh Sandhu, an affected resident, while quoting the Section 11-A of the Act said that ‘‘the collector should make an award under Section 11 within a period of two years from the date of publication of the declaration and if no award is made within that period, the entire proceeding for the acquisition of land shall lapse. ’’

Mr Jasmel Singh, another resident, while producing a copy of status quo orders from High Court said that he had the orders on May 24, 2005 while the PUDA had issued notices on June 13. While ordering a status quo, the court maintained, ‘‘the petitioners have neither been offered any compensation nor has ever been received by them till date and the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on May 30, 2003, and thereafter under Section 6 on May 13, 2003 have been issued by invoking section 17 of the Act.’’

Mr Sandhu claimed that while PUDA had revised the rates of per sq yard of land from Rs 3300 to Rs 6750 it was proposing to pay them at the rate of Rs 600 per sq yard for residential plot and Rs 500 per sq yard for agricultural land. ‘‘This is sheer injustice. We are not going to take this lying down. We have submitted copies of the status quo orders with the authorities also.’’

He appealed to the residents not to believe in rumours being spread by vested interests. He said that the residents had not gone to the Supreme Court as was being spread by some ‘‘unscrupulous elements.’’ He added that once the court reopens more residents would knock at the High Court’s doors to get justice.

Mr Atul Sharma, another angry resident, said that he had lost all faith in the democratic system of the country. ‘‘They registered our land sale deeds. Then they supplied us with water and electricity. If they had to acquire our land, as they had been saying that it was planned in 1974, why did they not inform the residents at that time so that they could have constructed their houses elsewhere?’’

The residents threatened to launch a massive agitation if PUDA did not change its decision to construct the missing link road.

Ms Dyal, said that they had received a no-objection certificate from the state government. She further said that the residents would be compensated at the rates fixed by the district collector.



Kaler Deputy Director, Local Bodies

Ludhiana, June 20
Mr S.R. Kaler today took over as Deputy Director, Local Bodies, Ludhiana.
He was transferred here from Ferozepore. Mr Kaler has also served here in various capacities as SDM and Additional Deputy Commissioner (general). Immediately after taking over, he said he would ensure that the grievances of panchayats and local bodies were addressed at the earliest without any delay. TNS



Scooterist killed
Our Correspondent

Samrala, June 20
Jagir Singh, landlord of Rampur village was killed on spot in a mishap with a bus on Neelon Bridge, 10, km from here, last evening. He was reportedly trying to cross the bridge on his scooter.
The driver of the Himachal Roadways bus (No. HP- 64-0I93) tried his best to save the scooterist but in vain. 



Two drowned
Our Correspondent

Khamano, June 20
Two youths drowned in the Bhakra Canal, near Panjkoha village, near here, while bathing. According to Mr Palwinder Singh, SHO, Khamano police station, the victims were identified as Bharti Inder and Devinder Singh, both employees of DMW railway factory, Patiala.



Four booked for snatching chain
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 20
The Sidhwanbet police has registered a case against Mehnga Singh, Bagga Singh and two others for snatching a gold chain from Dharminder Singh of Bahadurke village. The case was registered after four days of the incident.

Assault cases: A case has been registered under Sections 322, 342, 148 and 149, IPC, against Gurdip Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Manjit Kaur, Kiranjit Singh, Darshan Kaur and Swaranjit Kaur for allegedly assaulting Sukhwinder Kaur of Burj Harisingh village. A monetary dispute is believed to be the cause of the clash.

In another incident, the Sidhwanbet police has registered a case under Sections 324, 328, 427, 34, 148 and 149, IPC, on the complaint of Gurpreet Singh of Gidderwindi village against Gurpreet, Lali, Vicky and two others.

Gurpreet Singh, who was allegedly assaulted, has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Sidhwanbet.



Mahavir Spinning profit doubles 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 20
The Board of Directors of Mahavir Spinning Mills Ltd has declared the audited results of the company for the financial year 2004-05, along with the results for the last quarter ended March 31, 2005.

During the last quarter, the company registered a net turnover of Rs 476.07 crore and net profits of Rs 47.20 crore as against a net turnover of Rs 327.93 crore and net profits of Rs 22.91 crore during the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year. During the entire financial year, the net sales of the company shot up to Rs 1850.86 crore as against Rs 1081 crore in the previous year.

After providing for an interest cost of Rs 59.10 crore (previous year Rs 40.24 crore), depreciation of Rs 97.01 crore (previous year Rs 56.78 crore) and provision for tax of Rs 38.92 crore (previous year Rs 22.19), the company has posted a net profit of Rs 120.76 crore as against a net profit of Rs 60.16 crore in the previous year with the increase in net profit amounting to a little more than 100 percent.

According to a company spokesperson, during the year, the scheme of arrangement and demerger between Vardhman Spinning and General Mills Limited (VSGM) and Mahavir Spinning Mills Ltd was sanctioned by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh and as such the textile business of the VSGM stood vested with this company with effect from April 1, 2004. Consequently, the results of the company for the financial year ended March 31, 2005 include the results of the textile business of the VSGM.

The board of directors of the company have recommended a dividend of Rs 4.50 per share on the enhanced paid-up equity share capital of the company of Rs 38.51 crore. The board has also recommended a bonus of 1:2 on the enhanced paid-up equity share capital of the company (one equity share for every two equity shares). The earnings per share of the company during the period was Rs 31.36.

The listing of the fresh 1,27,63,064 equity shares allotted by the company pursuant to the above said scheme will be listed shortly on the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and the Stock Exchange, Mumbai (BSE).


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